Health by the Numbers: Pregnancy

Becoming pregnant is a life-changing event for women. However, much about the way women become pregnant, prevent pregnancy, and deliver babies has changed in recent years. So have the demographics of newborns. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, the average length of labor has increased over the past 50 years, which is probably due to changes in delivery room practices.

Here is a look at pregnancy statistics in the U.S.

  • 4,130,655 million: Number of babies born in 2009.
  • 33.2 out of 1,000: Number of pregnancies resulting in twins, a record high according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • 12: Approximate percent of babies born prematurely.
  • 25: Average age of first-time mothers.
  • 1 out of 10: Couples who struggle with infertility.
  • 5: Number of days infants born earlier, on average, than 50 years ago.
  • 50: Percent of recent deliveries with epidural anesthesia.
  • 32.3: Percent of babies delivered by cesarean section.
  • 60 million: Number of females childbearing age (15 to 44).
  • 95: Percent of women who use birth control.
  • 66: Percent of mothers who breastfeed, at least initially.
  • 29,650: Number of babies born at home in 2009.
  • 50 percent: Percent of pregnancies that are unplanned.
  • 39.1 of every 1,000: Number of births to girls 15 to 19 (the lowest level in seven decades).




Centers for Disease Control. "QuickStats: Percentage of Births That Were Home Births, by Maternal Race/Ethnicity-United States, 1990 - 2009." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 61(03) (2012): 58. Web 27 January 2012.

Martin, Joyce A., M.P.H., Hamilton, Brady E., Ph.D., Ventura, Stephanie J., M.A., Osterman, Michelle J.K., M.H.S., Kirmeyer, Sharon, Ph.D., Mathews, T.J., M.S., and Wilson, Elizabeth C., M.P.H. "Births: Final Data for 2009." National Vital Statistics Reports 60 (1) (2011). Web. 3 November 2011.

Livingston, Gretchen, and Cohn, D'Vera. "The New Demography of American Motherhood." Pew Research Center. Web. 19 August 2010. "Pregnancy Statistics." Web. 2009.

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. "Pregnancy."Web.

National Institutes of Health. "NIH Study Finds Women Spend Longer in Labor Now Than 50 Years Ago." Press Release. Web. 30 March 2012.